Trae Young initiates the offense during the fourth quarter of an NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at State Farm Arena. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

In the words of the great rapper 2 Chainz, “I’ma be fresh as Hell if the Feds watching!” The federal authorities as well as the fun, fly and flashy basketball fans in the City of Atlanta will be watching the only game on the NBA calendar tonight: Game Six between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Boston leads the series three games to two. As tonight’s game stands alone on the national stage, fans and viewers should fully expect an intense, jubilant, and rowdy atmosphere in downtown Atlanta.

The winner of this series will face the Philadelphia 76ers, who have been resting after sweeping aside the Brooklyn Nets in four games.

As a refresher, Atlanta went on a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter and tied the game at 111. When Trae Young attempted a lay-up, the ball was wedged at the rim. Upon jumping up at center court, Robert Williams III scored. The next time down, Trae Young hit his free throws, which put Atlanta up 116-115. With 7.3 seconds left, Derrick White of the Celtics hit his two free throws after Young was called for a charge. Hawks head coach Quin Snyder challenged the ruling but it was unsuccessful. 

Trae Young hit a 27 foot three point shot which was the game winner. Young ultimately scored 38 points in the game and 15 straight in the fourth quarter. 

Even though Atlanta is still on the brink of elimination, the Hawks are optimistic heading into tonight’s game. They’ll get Dejounte Murray back for Game Six after he was suspended for Game Five for making contact with a referee.

“I FaceTimed him as soon as I got in the locker room,” Young said after Game 5. “I told him to be ready. I told him before the game that we were going to take care of business so he can play in Atlanta.”

Boston understands heading into tonight’s game, it will be played in what can be accurately described as a jubilant and raucous atmosphere as they try once again to eliminate the Hawks. When asked about what the message would be, Celtics Head Coach Joe Mazzula said his team has to focus on the details. 

“I mean, if you don’t when you don’t execute, then you lose,” Mazzula said. “Yeah, somebody lost your points. I don’t know if we were trying to do too much. I just didn’t think we were poised and just didn’t execute.”

One of those details was the Hawks’ ability to make threes. Atlanta made 19 threes during Game Five. 

“We’ve been focused on ourselves and if we find things externally to be our source of motivation, I don’t think you can rely on that,” explained Hawks head coach Quin Snyder. “I understand it, people are making rational choices, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen. We just got to play and compete and I think that’s what we did.”

Boston is a 6.5 point favorite heading into tonight’s game according to DraftKings sportsbook. Young has scored 30 or more points in the last three games. Fully expect him to have another big night tonight. 

“I needed to just turn up another level and my teammates were looking at me to do the same thing,” Young said after Game Five. “It’s not like I’m just out there by myself. My teammates are telling me to be aggressive, get into the paint, keep shooting and you need that. I mean as a player as a leader on a team, you still need those guys around you to help you out and my teammates helped me out a lot tonight and just told me to be aggressive and late in the game they wanted me to take over.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...